An Idea is Born
There had been interest in Chippenham for some time in twinning with towns in continental Europe, but it was a chance encounter in Kington Langley in 1980 that actually started it all.
A young engineer called Maxence Mulocher who was from La Flèche, was staying in Kington Langley whilst working for the Milk Marketing Board as part of his training. On his first day he visited the local pub - the Hit or Miss - and was introduced by the landlord to Reg and Shirley Coates who both spoke French. They were leading supporters of twinning for Chippenham and happened to be in the pub at the time. An acquaintance was formed.
During the Maxence Mulocher's sojourn in England, his parents came over to stay and were introduced to his new friends. They returned to France with good impressions of Chippenham, suggesting to the Mayor of La Flèche that Chippenham might be a suitable twinning partner.
The start for Chippenham Twinning Association
La Flèche was a town of similar size to Chippenham and there was a lot of interest there too in forming a twinning relationship. In addition la Flèche is relatively easy to get to from Chippenham.
The Mayor of la Flèche visited with a delegation. Citizens of the two towns explored the potential for twinning and it became clear that this particular twinning was both feasible and desirable.
After that further delegations crossed the Channel and in anticipation of twinning with La Flèche the Chippenham Twinning Association was formed. The twinning charter was drawn up and formally signed by the Mayors of the two towns in 1982.
The 30th Anniversary of twinning with La Flèche was celebrated in 2012.
Twinning with Friedberg - a long-term aim fulfilled
Chippenham Twinning Association had from its inception a long-term aim to twin with a German town, but it was some time before the committee felt confident in proposing a twinning in principle to the membership. The support of membership at the 1990 AGM gave the committee the prompt it sought to proceed.
Friedberg was one of a number of places considered, because it had already formed a local relationship through school exchanges with Grittleton School nearby, and because the town was a similar size to Chippenham.
The potential twinning was promoted through personal contacts between individual citizens of the two towns starting in 1990. In anticipation, Friedberg formed its own twinning association at that time.
The first formal delegation from Friedberg visited Chippenham in April 1991 the return visit from Chippenham taking place the following September. The twinning was formalised in Friedberg in July 1992.